Chestnut Tree House supporters on track to raise £120,000 from Arundel Castle abseil

A daring abseil at Arundel Castle taken on by 400 supporters of Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice is on track to raise £120,000 for the charity.

Participants in the two-day event, part of the hospice’s 15th birthday celebrations, ranged from supporters, corporate teams and charity patrons, to families who have been cared for by Chestnut Tree House.

Derwyn Jones, Chestnut Tree House's chairman of trustees, Caroline Nicholls, High Sheriff of West Sussex, Giles York, chief constable of Sussex Police and members of the force

Derwyn Jones, Chestnut Tree House's chairman of trustees, Caroline Nicholls, High Sheriff of West Sussex, Giles York, chief constable of Sussex Police and members of the force

Abseilers included Chestnut Tree House’s chairman of trustees, Derwyn Jones; 15th birthday patrons, Matt Turner and Jason Burrill (the latter dressed at Batman); as well as the chief constable of Sussex Police, Giles York; the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls; and the mayor of Peacehaven, Brian Gosling.

There were many reasons people signed up to abseil 180ft down Bake House Tower, including raising money, overcoming a fear of heights, wanting to give something back, or just to experience abseiling from the popular landmark.

Sean Carter abseiled on the Friday morning and overcame his fear of heights as he wanted to thank Chestnut Tree House for caring for his son.

Sean said: “Chestnut Tree House is an amazing place. My son spends time there, and I wanted to do something for him and for them.”

Each participant was asked to raise £285, which is the amount needed every hour to provide hospice care services, with many raising more than this amount.

The highest fundraiser was 31 year-old Sam Brown, a member of the Chestnut Tree House care team, who passed away two weeks before the abseil took place.

With the support of Sam’s family, his friend Kelly took on the challenge in his memory and more than £5,000 has been donated as a result.

Jo Goddard, events fundraising manager, said: “It was an incredible two days and we are so grateful to everyone who took part and did such an amazing job of fundraising.

“There were some emotional moments over the two days as we watched people overcome fears, abseil in memory of a loved one, or simply enjoy every moment of doing something special to raise money for us in our 15th year.

“Sponsorship money is still coming in, but it looks like we’re on track to raise £120,000, which equates to more than 17 days of Chestnut Tree House’s care services – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes across Sussex and South East Hampshire."

Chestnut Tree House opened on November 11, 2003, and currently provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes.

The cost of providing this service is more than £3.9million per year, yet the hospice receives less than six per cent central government funding so relies on the generosity and support of the community to continue providing care to local children and families.

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